Grace and the US Presidency

This is stitched together from a series of tweets that I made earlier this morning. It’s been cleaned up and changed a touch, but the flavor and the point remains. 

I probably won’t gain any fans from this next series of tweets and might even lose a few folks along the way. That is as it may be…

I don’t much care that Palin trotted out her Mama Bear persona and her special brand of outrage to pump up Donald Trump. She isn’t someone I look to for political guidance. I didn’t like some of the media treatment of her and her family during the election, that is true, but I found her to be disappointing during the election and doubly so afterward. At best she puts voice to my concerns, but I’ve I’ve never seen her put that same voice to offering meaningful policy ideas, political insight, or solutions.

So no, I don’t care who she supports.

I do care about policy, thoughtfulness, communication, and solutions. I care about American culture and the idea of tolerance. I want to support someone who won’t deepen the divide between us, who is principled but not blindly dogmatic. I want to support someone who will start moving the ship back in the right direction, but will take the time to do it right. Not with fragile, blunt tools that are built to impermanence, but with leadership, persuasion, compromise when required, and adherence to the rule of law and the traditions that once made our political system something other than a series of executive decisions and decrees from un-elected agency heads.

I want wisdom and thoughtfulness. Trump fans want outrage and outrageous pronouncements.

All of that leads to one question: who do I support?

I could vote Rand Paul, although I disagree with him on some important issues, but Rand is already out of the race. He just hasn’t noticed yet. Similarly, Carly is someone that I like quite a bit but she had no chance. Not in this election, not with Trump taking up all the available space and dominating the news cycle. No, Carly never had a chance.

I have a mad dislike of Jeb. As a politician, I find him grating, but even more I don’t want America held hostage to some new aristocracy and the presidency isn’t a thing to be handed back and forth between two families every eight years or so.

Imagine how I feel about Hillary.

Kasich, Christie, and the rest of the second tier are just background noise. The greatest service they could do for their country now would be to exit the race and let their support go to folks who might actually win the office. But that isn’t the path of politicians.

Bernie’s beliefs and policies are so far from my own that the idea of supporting him is, for me, laughable.

And that leaves just two.

I’ll vote for either Rubio or Cruz when the time comes, but I have a strong preference between the two. And this isn’t about electability……neither, for that matter, is it purely policy. There are real differences between them but those differences are relatively small. Neither of them represents me on all the issues, neither is a perfect candidate, and, in some areas, I would end up opposing either in their presidency. But on many important issues (taxes, economy, the proper role of gov’t), I find common ground. That’s important, but one step beyond that is important to me, too: what kind of person do I want to vote for?

I want to vote for someone who can show grace and kindness even in disagreement. I want to vote for someone who can distinguish between the argument and the person. Which sounds small, but leads folks to treat others very differently.

I want to vote for someone who has the generosity of spirit to accept differences while maintaining their own beliefs. Which is a stronger expression of principle than the brittle, unyielding kind of stand that most people take on cultural and political issues. And while I’d vote for a atheist or Jew or, yes, even a Muslim for the job if I thought they had the right policies and patriotic spirit……I cannot deny that my Christianity also guides me to look for someone who embodies the values that I hold dear. Not necessarily……that they themselves are Christian, understand, but that they embody those values.

Do you see the distinction?

What is that thing that I’m looking for right now? That answer came to me earlier today as an embodiment of some of those values: grace.

Grace in the sense that a person can show kindness, generosity, and caring even when faced with profound disagreements. I really don’t want to vote for someone who will tell half the country to get to the back of the bus. Whoever we elect will be representing all of us– not just a tiny slice of one demographic. All of us. There are very few one size fits all solutions in a nation of more than 300 million varied so much by custom, religion, region, race, and political belief. And I don’t want the person I vote for to treat the other side of the electorate as conquered foes.

Why all this? Rubio’s answer to a simple question. He won’t have changed the guy’s mind, but he answered with grace.

 

So, Rubio is my guy. I’ll disagree with (and push against) him on a myriad of social issues, but I believe that he has the temperament to help guide us in a positive direction. At least, that is my most sincere hope.

In the end, though, America will vote and we will get the President that we most deserve. The one who mirrors our own face.

Last thought: if we truly get the president we deserve, would you rather it be a mirror of our outrage? Or should it be something better?

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